WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden appointed the following individuals to serve in key regional leadership roles at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Small Business Administration (SBA):
- Dean Schamore, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Kentucky
- Joe Aull, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Missouri
- John Berge, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Nebraska
- Kathleen Williams, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Montana
- Sarah Waring, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Vermont and New Hampshire
- Jason Pu, HUD Regional Administrator, Region 9
- Edward “Ted” James, SBA Regional Administrator, Region 6
These regional appointees will be critical to the President’s efforts to rebuild communities most impacted by the pandemic, the economic recovery, and climate change. They bring deep expertise in their issue areas as well as critical relationships with federal, state, tribal, and local leaders. And, consistent with the President’s commitment to building an administration that looks like America, these regional appointees represent the diversity of America and the communities they serve.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA)
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency implements agricultural policy, administers credit and loan programs, and manages conservation, commodity, disaster, and farm marketing programs in each U.S. State. Its mission is to equitably serve all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans. State Executive Directors oversee this work, ensuring the needs of local constituents are met and that USDA resources are distributed equitably and fairly.
USDA’s Rural Development mission area is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. State Directors lead offices that offer grants, loans, and loan guarantees to help create jobs and support economic development and essential services.
Dean Schamore, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Kentucky
Dean Schamore resides in Hardinsburg, KY and is a three-term former State Representative in the Kentucky General Assembly. Dean is a Veteran of the U.S. Navy and a Gulf War Veteran. He is the President of Digital Connections Plus, an IT company he started in 1993. Additionally, Dean is currently Chairman of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Board and has served as President of the Breckinridge County Chamber of Commerce. While in the General Assembly, Dean served on the Agricultural Committee, Tobacco Settlement Committee, Appropriations and Revenue Committee, Veterans Committee, and Banking and Insurance Committee.
Joe Aull, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Missouri
Joe Aull has lived in Missouri his whole life, and he has been in the field of public service for his entire career. Joe was an educator in four different public school districts in Missouri for a total of 34 years, serving as a teacher, a coach, a middle school principal, a high school principal, and a school superintendent. Most recently he was the Superintendent of the Lexington and the Marshall School Districts. In 1992, Joe received the Pearce Award as the outstanding school superintendent in the State of Missouri.
After retiring from public education, Joe ran and was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives, where he served for a total of eight years. During his time in the House, he was the Ranking Member of the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, and he served all eight years as a member of the House Agriculture Policy Committee. Joe and his wife of 27 years, Candee, live in Lexington, where he is currently the Mayor. They are the proud parents of four, and they also have four grandkids.
John Berge, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Nebraska
A western Nebraska native who grew up on a corn and wheat farm north of Lisco, Nebraska, John Berge has served as the General Manager of the North Platte Natural Resources District (NPNRD) in Scottsbluff, Nebraska since 2013. In 2009, Berge was appointed White House Liaison to the Department of Agriculture by President Obama where he was the principal liaison between the Executive Office of the President and the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture. Subsequently, Berge was appointed the Deputy and Acting Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations where he managed all operations of that office. He was a member of the Sub-Cabinet and Senior Policy Group, and coordinated all interactions with members of Congress and other elected officials and USDA officials. Mr. Berge also served as the Deputy Administrator for Field Operations at the USDA Farm Service Agency, and as the Executive Director of the National Food and Agriculture Council at USDA.
Earlier in his career, Berge served as the Executive Director of the Western Nebraska Community College Foundation in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Additionally, he served on the staffs of U.S. Senators Jim Exon, Bob Kerrey, and Ben Nelson. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, holds a Certificate in Climate Change and Energy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and is completing a Master of Applied Science program in Environmental Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He, his wife Kerri, son Theodore, and daughter Bridget live in Gering, Nebraska.
Kathleen Williams, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Montana
Kathleen Williams has enjoyed a 38-year career in economics and natural resource planning and policy spanning the public, private, and non-profit sectors. She is deeply rooted in Montana, having served as lead legislative staff for water, mining, and recreation policy, run a statewide water resources program, and helped various organizations with program review and strategic planning. As a state legislator, she served as Vice Chair of the Agriculture Committee and passed legislation to improve health care and infrastructure, grow and diversify Montana’s economy, and advance local food production systems.
Williams has worked, hunted, and campaigned statewide, helped build an organization of farmers and ranchers across the North American West, and has a special love for, and commitment to, rural issues and economies, including Montana’s diverse indigenous communities. Her recent run for Montana’s lone congressional seat allowed her to broadly discuss solutions to rural issues across many kitchen tables, town mayor’s desks, and tribal halls, while traveling over 100,000 miles in the process. Kathleen has two adult stepsons and an energetic German wirehaired pointer.
Sarah Waring, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Vermont and New Hampshire
Sarah Waring is a native of Vermont, and her career has been focused on rural community development and natural resource management, using collaborative and whole systems approaches. In her most recent role as Vice President for Grants and Community Investments at the Vermont Community Foundation, she was responsible for leading the funding for communities, organizations, and initiatives that addressed economic and social disparities and helped to close the opportunity gap for Vermont’s most vulnerable. She has worked on the ground in Vermont, and in the Rocky Mountain West, at the Vermont Council on Rural Development, Farm and Wilderness Foundation, and the Sonoran Institute, focusing on land use planning, community development, and agricultural and working lands development. Additionally, Sarah has been the Executive Director at the Center for an Agricultural Economy, an innovative nonprofit focused on building a just and regenerative local food system.
Sarah served on the Governor’s Task Force for Economic Mitigation and Recovery in 2020, where she supported the development of a toolkit for Municipal Engagement for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Sarah is an advocate for rural communities and currently lives in central Vermont with her husband Paul and her children, Orion and Aurora.
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD)
Regional Administrators lead HUD’s 10 Regional Offices that directly serve state and local organizations. Regional Administrators oversee field offices across each state in their region and ensure the Department directly serves local communities. Regional Administrators play a key role in leading assignments of housing assistance funds within the region and coordinating those assignments with HUD headquarters.
Jason Pu, HUD Regional Administrator, Region 9
Jason Pu is a member of the City Council and two-time Mayor of the City of San Gabriel in Los Angeles County, California. He also serves as Chair of the Transportation Committee of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments and President of the API Caucus of the League of California Cities. Mr. Pu has been a leader in the city and the region in managing multiple crises, combatting COVID-19, addressing regional housing and homelessness issues, fixing the city’s infrastructure, and stimulating local economic development efforts. His efforts have led to a fully-vaccinated rate of over 90% among those eligible in the city, the initiation of the city’s first and only affordable housing project, an improvement in pavement condition index from 48 to 82, the construction of new playgrounds and parks, state and federal resources in the region to complete major logistics, transportation, and housing projects, and the construction of several major economic development projects that will include hundreds of new housing units and over 250,000 square feet of new commercial space for new jobs and businesses. Previously, Mr. Pu was a business attorney specializing in finance, real estate, and corporate in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. Mr. Pu is a graduate of Stanford University and the UCLA School of Law.
Region 9 serves Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada.
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA)
The 10 SBA Regional Offices, led by Regional Administrators, oversee the SBA’s 68 district offices and ensure the goals and objectives of the Agency are met by each district office and field operations staff. The district offices are the point of delivery for most SBA programs and services, providing quality service to the local small business community. They work with SBA resource partners and intermediaries to accomplish the SBA mission of assisting America’s small businesses.
Edward “Ted” James, SBA Regional Administrator, Region 6
Louisiana State Representative Edward “Ted” James’ passion for leadership is driven by a deeply held desire to impact the lives of others while transforming his community. The Baton Rouge native was taught at an early age the value of service, the strength of community, the importance of a quality education, and the principles of social justice. State Representative James earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Southern University A & M College and went on to obtain his Juris Doctorate with honors from the Southern University Law Center. In November 2011, James was elected to serve as Louisiana State Representative. He currently serves as Chairman of the Administration of Criminal Justice Committee and Chairman of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus. Outside of the Legislature, James is an attorney and director of the Baton Rouge office of the Urban League of Louisiana. Most importantly, he is the proud father of his daughter, Harper Ryan James.
Region 6 serves Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.